5 myths and facts about puberty that every parent and child should know

Puberty can be a confusing time for children. They observe and experience a number of bodily changes and are often unable to make sense of it. This is where parents need to step in and have a chat with them about puberty. Madhavi Jadhav, founder of That Mate, a platform that works towards busting myths related to sexual and mental health, shares some common myths:

Myth 1: Pimples are a result of being unclean.

Fact: Girls and boys both get pimples, and it has nothing to do with cleanliness. Instead, it’s caused by hormones. It’s a result of excess oil getting trapped in skin pores. Pimples usually disappear in a few days, so one shouldn’t worry too much about it. Parents should make sure that pimples don’t interfere with their kid’s confidence. If the child feels too self-conscious about it, there are over-the-counter medication available for acne treatment.

Myth 2: Girls should not be allowed to play or touch pickles during menstruation.

Fact: Some girls may experience pain during their periods, while others may not. In either case, it should be the choice of the individual whether and how much to play. There is no reason to not touch pickles while menstruating. There are many such taboos surrounding menstruation, which forbids girls from entering the kitchen, or going to a temple. These are all baseless.

Myth 3: Nightfall is abnormal.

Fact: Nightfall (or noctural emission) refers to involuntary ejaculation of semen. It’s the body’s way of relieving sexual arousal. When boys experience nightfall, some of them think they have a disease, or even that they have cancer. Parents should reassure them that it’s normal. In case it happens outdoors, for example, in a movie theatre during a kissing scene, boys can just head to the restroom and clean themselves up.

Myth 4: Period blood is impure.

Fact: Menstruation is an absolutely natural process. Scientifically speaking, menstrual discharge does not contain any toxic components. About half of menstrual fluid is blood. Other components include calcium, iron, sodium, cervical mucus, etc. It is no more dangerous than regular blood.

Myth 5: Something is wrong if kids don’t grow taller soon after puberty hits.

Fact: The growth period for everyone varies. Parents should not worry if their children are not as tall as their classmates, or if they don’t have muscles. Boys normally see an increase in height between the age of 12 to 16 or 18, while for girls, it’s normally between 9 to 15.

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